August 6, 1891
“It is amusing to read the different papers on the political issues,” began a column in this week’s edition of the openly party-affiliated Watauga Democrat this week, “and particularly on the third party move.” This editorial column alleged that, “the Alliance papers say that the third party is a fixed fact,” while “Pres. Polk,” also referred to in the column as “Col. Polk,” has “recently said that neither the tariff nor free coinage will be the leading issue, but that the entire change of our financial system will be the leading issue for 1892.” In the 1890s, the Populist Party’s run as a third-party alternative to the Democrat and Republican parties began, largely based on alliances of farmers who were pressing for a viable political alternative which would support the free coinage of silver and regulate railroads. “Col. Polk seems to have changed his base,” wrote the Watauga Democrat, “or has left the Alliance to stand alone, until very recently the sub-Treasury and free coinage were only issues talked of by the Alliance in their meetings. War was made on Grover Cleveland for his opposition to free coinage of silver, seemingly making free coinage the only issue.” “The Alliance” referred to the loose grouping of farmer’s groups which opposed the Federal Government adhering to the gold standard alone, and which would, the following year, become the base of the Populist Party. The local newspaper noted that “fervent political prayers are being offered that the Democratic South would fall in line” with the Farmer’s Alliance-based populism, but asserted that, “the South hesitates and says we are afraid,” continuing that, “we will stick to the old Democratic organization,” despite promises from a group called the “Protective League Party” to “develop the great resources of western North Carolina.” The Watauga Democrat newspaper firmly declared itself “against the Alliance, free coinage, tariff reform, Democrats [!], and everything except the present government system.” Emphasizing unity within the Democratic party, including Southerners who might be tempted by some aspects of populism and a third party, the editorial author proclaimed that the “grand old Democratic party stands firm and looks on with satisfaction, believing that Democrats and Southern Alliance people will stand together with the true Democrats of the north, and all will be well in ’92, and let the Boodle party go under, and then the country will be saved.” The term “boodle” was used to describe politicians suspected of taking bribes, a term used in New York City newspapers of the time taken from a Dutch word for property.
August 9, 1934
“Rev. W.R. Savage Succumbs Sunday,” a front-page headline in this week’s edition, reported that, “Reverend William R. Savage, well known Episcopal minister, who for many years had made his home in Glendale Springs, Ashe County, died in a Charlotte Hospital last Sunday, after an illness of two weeks.” The obituary notice related that, “Mr. Savage came to Blowing Rock perhaps forty years ago where he was engaged as an Episcopal minister, and for perhaps a quarter of a century traveled periodically on horseback or in a buggy, ministering both to the spiritual and physical needs of his beloved mountain people.” The clergyman was described as having “made his home for at Glendale Springs” for “many years,” and it was written that he “was well known to the people of the mountain country and beloved by all. His death brings sadness to many old friends.” A large donation of books by Rev. Savage in the early 1900s formed the nucleus of the first library in the town of Boone.